Everyone should practice good dental hygiene, but athletes face a very unique risk. Depending on the exact sport you play, your jaw or face may be at risk of experiencing injury where your teeth could break or become dislodged entirely, so there are specific practices that should be followed so that you can hang onto all your teeth for much longer.
A mouthguard can do a lot of good if you participate in a contact sport like football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, or hockey. High school and college athletes should wear one of these at all times, including during both practices and actual games, since injuries can occur at anytime. Not only will tooth loss or damage cause pain, but it also costs a lot of money to replace your missing tooth with a crown or bridge.
Keep in mind that there are different types of mouthguards and the right one for you can vary depending on your sport and activity levels. You can likely go to any sporting goods store and find some standard mouthguards, but these are not going to be the best type of protection. Generic guards offer minimal protection, so you should instead get a mouthguard that is specifically designed to fit over your teeth. These can be obtained from most dental professionals.
What Happens When You Don’t Wear a Mouthguard?
Without a mouthguard, your teeth could easily get chipped, cracked, broken, or knocked out, which means you could pay thousands of dollars in replacement costs. Not only is there the financial weight of losing a tooth, but you will also need to spend hours in a dentist’s office and recovering from the procedure (which likely means missing some time out on the field). Thousands of injuries are prevented every year thanks to the use of mouthguards, so you should definitely wear one yourself.
Anyone who plays basketball, volleyball, rugby, soccer or other intense sports should always utilize a specialized faceguard. You would not play sports without a helmet, knee pads or other protective gear, and a mouthguard should be viewed the same way.